The human animal, like any animal, depends on awareness of its environment for its survival. Awaken to read the weather by looking up at sky or down at screen; survey the trail for tigers or traffic jams; smell the air for potential meal or mate.
I live in a basement apartment, which means in the morning I walk upstairs to the overworld to truly get a sense of the day. Clear skies, Merlin the cat cruises by to say hello, plum blossoms floating on warm breeze. Then, since it’s a day for writing, back to the underworld.
Still a longing to know what’s moving through the world, for survival and fun, an appetite fed by the strange fruits of our time, I go to Facebook.
Many are the hours I have spent in this exquisite non-place, loud is the lamentation for that wasted time. But today I’ll see it differently. Today I’m grateful for the incredibly diverse array of information available in one source, a veritable tree of knowledge of good and evil and banal.
I become aware of what’s going on locally, like a friends’ band pre-selling what’s sure to be an amazing new album. Across the country, a friend will be running the Scotland 10K in Central Park, and in Scotland a friend is spending the day in the darkroom.
One page holds an incredible continuum of time and space: a friend from kindergarten has a toothache, a friend from junior high searches for a disco ball for her family minivan, a new friend quotes Dr. Seuss as she recovers from knee surgery.
Life and death abound as news of beloveds passing on blends with pics of babies fresh out of the oven. There’s food, religion, politics, environmentalism; reminiscing, arguing, celebrating; a whole heap of new friendships and fan-ships.
Is there potential to squander a helluvalotta time on minutiae? Oh you know there is; that’s part of the deal. Just as being outside you get to sift through the dirt to find the tasty grubs, here you get to put those millennia-honed skills to work sorting through this lovely pile of potential.
It’s a joy to set off without preset expectations, to wander a bit in the mystery, pick things up and set them down, revel in the fantastic inter-connection existing metaphysically being reflecting digitally, storing things in memory for who knows what purpose. And perhaps, just as it’s time to get back to work, you’ll find something like this: